Super Scoopers Return to L.A. for Wildfire Season

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of unscorched forest

Back in June, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and other local agencies held a conference in Diamond Bar about the 2014 fire season. Taking into consideration California’s paralyzing drought, the discussion was nothing short of a Doomsday scenario: the U.S. Forest Service claimed that last year’s fire season “never really ended,” and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection stated that fires could crop up “all over the state in these conditions.”

Well. Now that wildfire season (September through December) is officially underway, two colorful (and useful!) Canadian CL-415 Super Scooper aircraft have made their way to the L.A. area. The bright yellow pair, a welcome addition to the LAFD’s own squadron of nine helicopters, is able to hold 3,200 gallons of ocean or lake water between them. Along with an Erickson Air-Crane helitanker that can hold 2,200 gallons, they will be the primary line of defense in the face of first-alarm brush fires.

The planes landed at Van Nuys airport Wednesday, where Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby touched on the importance of adding the Super Scoopers to the department’s current lineup. “From our perspective, if there’s a wildland fire, we can really get more resources on the fire at the incipient stages and keep it from getting large,” he explained.

Canada, we salute you. (Also, can we keep ’em?)